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Mar. 3rd, 2015 01:14 am
taelle: (Default)
I've known it for a long time, but it's still unsettling that the word for 'Jew' in Western Slavic languages is one that exists in Russian but is offensive...

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Nov. 19th, 2014 02:11 pm
taelle: (Default)
 https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bullypulpitgames/night-witches - this company makes a computer game about the Night Witches regiment. I don't play computer games, but it's Night Witches - I went to read. ... and now I am thinking. Specifically, thinking about the sexism and feminism angle in their description.

My first instinctive reaction was "no-no-no, stupid Americans pushing their contemporary political concerns into our history". But. WWII here is this huge lump of unprocessed and unreflected history with only the clean and heroic bits - and I don't know when it will be processed. I have this plan going on the backburner, to read English-language books on Russian history just to have outside POV to help me think.

There is a book in Russian (I've no idea whether it was translated into English) about women at war, which I always mean to read but am afraid to - it's mostly accounts of women who went to war, and I have read _some_ real-life accounts so I have an idea about how depressing it would be; and I have met a lot of people who say that it's a tendentious and biased book to make our heroic history look dirty, and it was NOT LIKE THAT and better read Soviet-published memoirs of heroic women who volunteered and everyone in their regiments treated them as a little sister.

And, of course, once I started thinking I remembered reading memories of sexual harassment of women on the frontlines (and, one of the bits from the aforementioned book I did read - and it struck me very much - how women returning from war to their towns and villages were often shunned, because everyone believed they were whores - what else they could have been doing among so many men?)

I still don't believe in _sabotage_ which is mentioned in the game description, though: that would have been a shooting offense.

----------

Also, hello to the new people!  All this is kind of inspiring me to write more.

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Sep. 3rd, 2014 06:41 am
taelle: (Default)
I am reading a discussion about how Steve and Bucky in Avengers (or Marvel? I am shaky on the differences, I am not into comics) would not be into pop psychology and would not find going to a psychologist/therapist natural and helpful, and thinking "Oh yes".

I mean, I was born in the 1970s, not 1920s, but in a very different culture where the pop psychology is just coming in. And I have been reading fanfics for years but sometimes the seeming omnipresence of therapy drives me batty. I have no idea whether it's like this in real-life USA, but. People talking about things. "Do you want to talk about this?" Everyone seemingly being obligated to go to a therapist. I mean, if I had a traumatic experience and was made to go to a therapist, I'd probably grit my teeth and checked how do I get rid of this fastest, and would have considered this a part of traumatic experience.

And in fanfic it reads a bit like the way slashy sex scenes used to explain 1-2-3 fingers and obligatory condoms.

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Jun. 29th, 2013 11:38 pm
taelle: (Default)
I keep thinking about how there's such a lot of YA books and TV series about USAian high school, and how this is such a subject of instant boredom to me.

Of course, I haven't gone to high school in USA so I can't relate and maybe it's really important and recognizable for USA readers and watchers, but I never went to a college in USA either, and I _am_ able to enjoy college stories (and there seem to be plenty of non-USA people loving TV series about spoiled rich high schoolers and their social games and stuff). And in general I do enjoy stories not related to my experience... (okay, I hate prison stories, but that's more understandable).

Maybe it's because it's _partial_ relatedness to my experience. And maybe it's because all those stories seem to center on the school being a tribe with weird and complicated social customs (which sound unbelievable. Though I once asked on a mailing list and people answered that yes, there really are unwritten rules about who sits where in a diner, or something), and these customs do sound boring.

Or maybe I am at the age when teenagers in general do sound a bit boring.

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Dec. 8th, 2012 06:52 pm
taelle: (Default)
... a strange moment: several times when discussing the recent 'hospital prank' story here, I've encountered the attitude of 'ha-ha, these people at the hospital somehow believed that the Queen would speak with an Australian accent, how silly of them' - not even 'attitude', but actually the first reaction.

While somehow I never doubted that people who make their living working with their voices can use various accents.

People's immediate assumptions are somehow fascinating.

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Sep. 21st, 2012 12:46 am
taelle: (Default)
The most amazing mess of an opinion about manners - and yes, I see what kind of a site this is, but it's not unique in its opinion, is it?

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Jul. 16th, 2012 07:43 pm
taelle: (Default)
Russian coverage of foreign cultural/social news is so depressing, and mostly directed at ridiculing human rights movement, tolerance, LGBT acceptance etc. I never trust anything Russian mass media says and try to find English-language sources, but...

Basically, everyone and their aunt reposted that the Amsterdam city court forbid the Russian children's movie Guest from the Future on the whole territory of Netherlands after the petition of Human Rights Watch, because the movie promotes LGBT intolerance. This all sounds fairly absurd, but I can't google up a single non-Russian mention of _anything_ connected with Russian movies and Amsterdam and Human Rights Watch... Grrr. Maybe I am missing some trace.

UPD: Ah, this is just plain fake news - very much in the current trend though, judging by the comments of people indignantly reposting it.

* * *

Jul. 12th, 2012 03:27 am
taelle: (persuasion)
Maybe there should be a law about never reading fantasy based on your own culture. Because really, the _Grisha_? How dumb is that?

... maybe it's strange that the Takarazuka versions of Russian classics don't turn me off, I dunno.

* * *

Apr. 10th, 2012 12:45 am
taelle: (Leningrad)
I have a cough. I am really tired of that damn cough.

In other news: this article about why poor people have the habits they have is fun and understandable, but. One thing threw me out of it.

This: "You're not buying the dryer because Sears is having their once a year "Get these fucking dryers out of our warehouse 50 percent off sale," but because the dryer that's been making that funny noise for a year and a half finally broke. You have to take the first one you see, at whatever price, because your wet clothes are sitting there getting moldy."

I mean, really? Someone who worries about spending 2 dollars more than necessary needs a dryer to dry their clothes? What are the clotheslines for? ... I can't figure out whether the writer actually doesn't know what he's talking about, or the US poor really have such peculiar ways of spending money.

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Feb. 3rd, 2012 08:50 am
taelle: (Rylance Prospero)
Sometimes I feel like our country is a distorted mirror of everything that goes in the rest of the world. From a leading candidate in the elections who says that elections are dirty and unpleasant and he's not going to campaign because he has work to do, to professional psychologists who don't know the difference between sex and gender.

Also, a very typical thing: a Russian blogger asking her readers to go sign the petition against ACTA says something along the lines of "of course such things are useless and we are just lemmings who can't do anything, but this time even big players like Google are against this thing, so maybe it makes sense to try and stop it".
taelle: (Default)
... though we have no snow yet. The last two winters were excessively snowy, but still I'd like some snow now, please - the last bout of springlike weather in December ended in snow staying for all of April. I'd rather have a snowy December.

Each year I send cards abroad too late. I like sending cards, but in my mind (a) it's New Year which is the holiday, not the 25th, and (b) the holiday time/feeling starts about mid-December. Maybe this year I will be better?

I am reading people who do a "100 days of happiness" in their blogs, but not sure whether I want to do this. One of the main reasons is that I see such memes as a way to spread cheer/good mood, and too much of my happiness is fannish; I doubt anyone else can cheer up reading about me finding a lovely photo of so-and-so online.

I'd like to learn to knit socks. But I still haven't managed to deal with that shawl pattern, and socks are scary, and even my scarves aren't that good yet.

My last xpost to LJ failed - wonder if this one will get through.

* * *

Dec. 1st, 2011 09:09 am
taelle: (crafty)
I keep reading cross-stitching blogs, and many of them are by US stitchers. And it actually disturbs me a lot how much of their stitching features US flags, slogans like 'Land of the Free' and patriotic motifs. All-pervading nationalism and patriotism is scary to me...

* * *

Nov. 28th, 2011 12:28 am
taelle: (crafty)
I read a story today which involves an Englishman from 1911 travelling in time and arriving in 2014, IIRC. Upon learning that his female acquaintance is a published writer, he is very surprised that here women can write and publish books. This Englishman in his time is a footman in a big country house, with just four years of village school, but specifically described as someone who loves books and at night sometimes takes books to read from the house library.

... it seems to me that stories about people from the past either have them have too modern ideas, or paint their time as way too backwards to believe. Or both.

Also, today I have been watching the Takarazuka version of Captain's Daughter in the living room, to the lively interest of family and friends. And no, nobody objected to kitsching up Russian culture. ;) (me: Where are these Oriental dancers entertaining Pugachov supposed to come from? Mother: from Bashkiria, obviously). Though nobody, including me, could guess at why they renamed Grinyov Nikolai.

* * *

Nov. 1st, 2011 05:29 am
taelle: (rain)
I want to hide from the world (this, of course, is why I post in a public blog, right); no, really. I need the sense of being coccooned - like making a playhouse by putting a blanket over a table, - to pull myself together (this is, of course, where any sane person would ask me what I need to pull myself together _from_). Maybe I _am_ an hypochondriac, I dunno.

I am reading Eric Hobsbawm, which is kinda... different after some postmodernist historian stuff I've been looking at lately. But I hope I do remember stuff. I think with years I have started reading more slowly - though I always wondered whether things stay in my mind. This is one of the reasons I've always kept a diary - to prevent time from sifting through my fingers.

Halloween in Russia is taking strange forms. I am afraid that in a year or two it will be considered polite to give people best wishes for Halloween and to send postcards. Or something. There's already children's events - day events! In local cultural centres!

I started watching the Takarazuka Hamlet - and liking it more than I expected, for all its rock opera glamour (also, eternally amused by female Rosencrantz and by the gravedigger girls who look a bit like the younger version of Macbeth witches).

Still continuing my story - or trying to. Wrote an interlude before a talk which I'm not sure how to do (well, the character planning to have that talk is not sure either, but that does not matter). I am an okay writer on a phrase-and-paragraph level, but story-level... that's what happens when you stick to vignettes.

Also I should go to a dentist.
taelle: (Default)
" I thought I was coming to Russia’s second city, but now think it is better described as Europe’s fourth city." - UK's Consul General in Saint Petersburg. I can't help wondering which are the first three, by his count.

Actually, I've been thinking about accents. For anyone dealing with English as much as I do the importance of accents for Englishpeople is fairly notable (am I the only person in the universe who thought the accents in Life on Mars sounded rather lovely?) But as for accents in Russian... I do have rather a tin ear, as I've been repeatedly told by my phonetics instructors at the uni, but still. ... I remember being trained out of the local accent in primary school - "No, you don't pronounce it in this uncultured way, you pronounce it [like they do it in Moscow]". Which is especially funny in view of eternal argument of 'we're not the capital any more, but we're more cultured than Moscow - we're the _cultural_ capital'. And now I am not even sure there's much of the local accent, phonetics-wise (tin ear, as I said; perhaps to a trained observer my speech would be instantly identifiable).

There's still vocabulary arguments, the more common the differing words, the more active the argument. 'They're using their quaint way of calling it X instead of Y as it properly is' (actual article critiquing St. Petersburg translators), and eternal joking arguments with Moscow friends about how I keep calling types of bread incorrectly. ... I don't know if it's still accent or not; I clearly wasted my uni education.

However, my bank happens to have series of ads with pairs of words of the 'lift-elevator' or 'apartment-flat' type and the slogan 'Two capitals, one bank'. There are banners with these ads on the railway station from where the trains to Moscow go, and I walk along the platform sometimes, checking what words they used.

... and I don't know the point of it (I also don't know what my accent would sound to a native English speaker. I have the pronounciation of a bookish child who learned her words by sight, I have far more practice writing than I do speaking, and, naturally, I mix English and American words (I mostly spell English, though - that's the way I've been taught).

Apropos of nothing, some people are now trying to convince me that there were witch trials in USA in early 20th century, only they can't remember where or the exact date, I can't find anything on my own and I don't particularly trust those particular people (well, in the accuracy of statements; I do not believe they'd steal my silverware or something).


* * *

Sep. 12th, 2011 03:32 am
taelle: (Default)
Cough, I still have it. Running nose, I still have it. I did some thinking (hard stuff, when your head is woolly) and called off my tomorrow massage session. Which is a pity.

So, I spent today in bed, reading, or at my desk being stupid online. Online is a great place to be stupid, except that it's more fun when there are people to be stupid with. There were, but not all the time. I also read someone's blog back to the very beginning. I do that sometimes (and then feel weird thinking that the person noticed and now expects me to subscribe).

Also, had some mustard plasters. (I really hate it when you're ill and everybody starts examining you: "Are you doing this and that? Are you taking your medicines?", and if they're family members, they're almost bound to tell you that if you're still ill, you're not doing enough, not working enough on treating your illness). Mustard places, though, they're good. Now, pity no one invented brain plaster: I suddenly have to do some work tonight. Not hard work. But it's hard to concentrate. (I think I've been losing my ability to concentrate lately anyway. Is it age? Or just general feeble-mindedness?)

I haven't watched anything, and haven't cross-stitched anything (what with the coughing and the sniffling, it feels kind of anti-sanitary), but I did do a useful thing today: solved my Kindle problem. A while ago my Kindle for PC decided it was unable to actually download the archived/bought books. I wrote to Kindle support twice, and they couldn't help me and wanted me to call them so that they could work with this real-time. I did not want to. I mean, why the insistence on phoning? Do people with bad hearing not deserve technical support? They could have a chat or something. I don't exactly have bad hearing, but I don't always hear everything on the phone, and to do it across the world and in a language not mine... No, thanks. Anyway, today I managed to find a way to read the books in my browser. Good enough for now, and I'll see later what I can do with Kindle itself.

I was reading 'Harry Potter and history', and made a pause because of Kindle problem, but a discussion about Hogwarts education in that blog I was reading backwards reminded me of it. Even though I'm still on the first part of that book, and all this stuff about magic in our world's history and the use of languages in spells is... either it's general knowledge or I just know it. I can't always tell. (I've been also listening to a lecture course on Victorian Britain, and it's geared towards US students, I guess, and it's really weird in terms of background knowledge - the professor makes a detour to explain the 16th century church stuff - all these basic things with Henry VIII's divorce, dissolution of monasteries etc. Really weird: I mean, doesn't a person taking a course on Victorian Britain, which doesn't seem to be school level, already know all this?)

I'm tired of being ill. One of my favourite seasons is outside, waiting for me.

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